Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard Richman
Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog
Virginia State Election -- Will Republicans Win the House of Delegates?
The Virginia House of Delegates could go either way. Nearly all of the commentary and attention focused on Virginia’s 2021 elections has been directed at the race for governor. But an even closer contest is playing out in districts across the state – the battle for control of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Recent state-wide elections have seen Democrats win relatively commanding state-wide majorities. For instance according to the official counts from the 2020 election, Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by roughly ten percentage points, and Warner defeated Gade by twelve points. Thus, to win the state-wide contests, Republicans need to gain at least five percent more of the two-party vote (while Democrats lose at least an equal amount of the two-party vote) relative to the most recent election.
A recent Politico article noted the fact that the Virginia House of Delegates may well be in play for Republicans in 2021. While the article discusses a few examples, it failed to put them into a comprehensive context. Put in context, it is clear that the House of Delegates races start from a point of real opportunity for Republicans.
Of course, if the House of Delegates races go just as they did in 2019, Democrats will retain their majority. And a very small shift in vote margins wouldn’t change much. If Republicans win one percent more votes than 2019 and Democrats win one percent less, it would give Republicans one additional district (the 83rd district in Virginia Beach). A two point swing would give them three, and still no chamber majority. However, a mere two and a half percentage point gain for Republicans (paired with a parallel loss for Democrats) would give Republicans enough seats to claim a majority in the chamber. Thus, the gap Republicans need to make up to gain control of the House of Delegates (relative to the last election) is half of the gap that would have to be closed to win the state-wide races.
Just where do most of these races stand today?...
Cake Cutting and Gerrymandering
The latest and greatest reform effort heading into the 2020 post-census redistricting was the shift by a number of states towards an effort to take the politics out of redistricting through redistricting commissions. In some places this seems to be working, but in a number of instances the commissions are either deadlocked or fragmenting. Perhaps it's worth considering an alternative approach that creates a fair playing field for the parties without need to try to find (and the perils of trying to identify and appoint) fair and non-partisan members of a commission. This is the cake cutting algorithm approach....
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